Farm of the Future, National Geographic (1970)

Dreams of engineering the earth’s climate are not new.  Check out an artist’s rendering of techno-utopia in agriculture at the end of the article.

“Fields will be larger, with fewer trees, hedges, and roadways.  Machines will be bigger and more powerful and able to do more operations in fewer trips across the land.  They’ll be automated, even radio-controlled, with closed circuit TV to let an operator sitting on a front porch monitor what is going on.”

“‘Weather control may tame hailstorm and tornado dangers,’ Dr. Irving added. ‘Atomic energy may supply power to level hills or provide irrigation water from the sea.  Satellites and airplanes overhead will transmit readings enabling a farmer to spot diseases breaking out in his crops more surely than he could by walking through the fields.'”

“Farm of the future: Grainfields stretch like fairways and cattle pens resemble high-rise apartments in a farm of the early 21st century, as portrayed by artist Davis Meltzer with the guidance of U. S. Department of Agriculture specialists.  Attached to a modernistic farmhouse, a bubble-topped control tower hums with a computer, weather reports, and a farm-price ticker tape. A remote-controlled tiller-combine glides across a 10-mile-long wheat field on tracks that keep the heavy machine from compacting the soil. Threshed grain, funneled into a pneumatic tube beside the field, flows into storage elevators rising close to a distant city.  The same machine that cuts the grain prepares the land for another crop.  A similar device waters neighboring strips of soybeans as a jet-powered helicopter sprays insecticides. Across a service road, conical mills blend feed for beef cattle, fattening in multilevel pens that conserve ground space.  Tubes carry the feed to be mechanically distributed.  A central elevator transports the cattle up and down, while a tubular side drain flushes wastes to be broken down for fertilizer. Beside the farther pen, a processing plant packs beef into cylinders for shipment to market by helicopter and monorail. Illuminated plastic domes provide controlled environments for growing high-value crops such as strawberries, tomatoes, and celery.  Near a distant lake and recreation area, a pumping plant supplies water for the vast operation.”

Billard, Jules B. “The Revolution in American Agriculture.” National Geographic, Feburary 1970: 147-185.